Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman
Sadly, even if Redray is superior to H.265, the latter will be the new industry "darling" because a lot of powerful companies hold patents on the new MPEG design. They want royalty money for it. Using the Redray codec for UHD media would only benefit RED.
Politics and money win out every single time.
It might have been better for all if RED had had input on the H.265 codec to make it even better.
You are probably right about this that the usual corporate mob will do everything to keep competing codecs away from mainstream, even if they should show out to be better.
But it is not smooth sailing for HEVC/H.265 and the equivalent Mpeg version. They have a direct competitor for the commercial market in Googles VP9.
And both of these codecs have problems with getting the Patent holders to enter into any agreement in patent pools.
First a couple of comparisons;
- HEVC/H.265 licence will cost money.
- VP9 licence will be open source and free.
- HEVC is about 1% better in quality than VP9 when one pixel peep, before Google starts the optimisation of VP9.
- More and more video is distributed via the web into browser apps, and Google "owns the web" compared to the corporations (mostly CEMs) in the MPEG-LA patent pool.
Google takes aim at next gen codec market
First a interesting article about how Google beat Mpeg-LA into submission regarding VP8 after being threatened by them for several years.Google called the MPEG-LA's bluff, and won
10th Mar 2013.
"MPEG-LA, led by its patent troll CEO, has been lobbing threats towards On2, the company behind Theora and VP8 Google bought, for almost 13 years now. Even though On2 repeatedly asked for the MPEG-LA to put its money where its mouth is, it never actually did so. Still, the threats kept on coming, so much so that the MPEG-LA even started asking for possible patent contributions to a VP8 licensing pool.
No wonder, then, that the announcement of an agreement between Google and the MPEG-LA comes as a surprise - it's a massive about-face for an organisation with such a long history of patent threats. While an agreement between the two is reason enough to be surprised, an even bigger surprise lies within the agreement press release: not only does Google get a license to use VP8 itself, but also a license for the next generation of VPx, as well as the ability to sublicense to all users, whether they use Google products or third party VP8 products.
Why is this surprising?
Well, because this means that VP8 is a hell of lot safer and more free from possible legal repercussions than H.264 itself."
So then we move over to HEVC, which supposedly is or close to be ratified. But that doesn't mean it is ready for roll-out big time, unless one take a chance that not a whole lot of companies are coming after you and each demanding payment.
Background; Many of the companies in the Mpeg-LA patent pool for H.264 have felt that they where cheated out of patent royalties big time by the way the patent pool agreement royalty split was constructed.
Now they want to collect their own royalties from users of H.265.
This whole article is an interesting overview of HEVC, so anybody interested should read the two pages.The Future of HEVC: It's Coming, but with Plenty of Questions
I just Quote from the relevant patent pool dispute part here;
Royalty Issues with HEVC
What’s clear at this point is that multiple companies have patents relating to HEVC technology, and they plan to ask for royalties from those who use their technology. This was the case with H.264 as well, and though many in the streaming industry grumbled about the royalties, this disgruntlement certainly didn’t limit H.264’s success.
Two things are different with HEVC. First, where H.264 involved a single group of patent holders administered by MPEG LA, it appears that some HEVC patent holders want to pursue royalties outside of a patent group, which will make it more challenging for HEVC users to license the technologies. According to “Patent Snafus Could Delay New Video Codec,” Mediatek and Qualcomm do not want to join the HEVC group formulated by MPEG LA, and Samsung hasn’t decided either way.
One chipmaker executive, speaking anonymously for the EE Times article, commented, “HEVC has so many patent holders and some of them say they will not be part of the pool but want to collect royalties themselves. If say 20 people all want to collect royalties it will kill the standard -- we need a fixed cost, it cannot be variable,” he added.
So what about Googles VP9?
Ought to be smooth sailing as it is one company behind it and not 20 or 30 companies as it is with HEVC.
VP9 was announced to be released in June this year, but then Nokia as one of the patent holders for VP9 balked;
VP9 Is Almost Here, But a Nokia Patent Fight Might Have it DOA
May 14 - 2013.
"In a series of blog posts last week, Google detailed the final release schedule for VP9 and a few other implementation details. These posts also indicated that YouTube plans to start using VP9 once it’s available in Chrome. Unfortunately for Google, recent patent infringement claims from Nokia seriously muddy the waters regarding whether or not VP8 and VP9 will ultimately be royalty free."
So there we have two high efficiency codecs that will compete for popularity.
Will they solve their patent disagreements? Probably; either amiably or that some of the larger companies bully or beat the smaller companies into submission.
After all, it is all about corporate politics and not about quality.
Speaking about quality.
We have been presented with a lot of nice compression numbers and such for HEVC/H.265, but have anybody seen some real high quality test footage of 4K that prove that the image quality is retained under these compression numbers?
HEVC had a stand at NAB 2013, and according to reports, what they showed there as a demonstration of HEVC was so bad that they should have been ashamed of themselves.
What about RedRay in all this? Does RED have some advantages here?
- It is one company with one codec, no patent dispute.
- .RED is created by camera designers that use the same compression technology in their cameras.
- They have been working with real 4K footage for more than six years.
- RedRay content can only be played back on a RedRay player and can not be played on a PC (at least for now) which combined with their DRM (of which we know nothing) should give content owners that are afraid of pirates an added security compared to content that can be played back on a computer.
- 4K Image quality seems to be impressively good even at these high compression rates.
Could RedRay players be priced at consumer levels?
That is just a matter of adoption and mass-production.
The future will show if RedRay could be a commercial player in competition with other brands.
But it could at least be an big time High-End alternative to the big consumer backed formats.
.Edited by coolscan - 8/4/13 at 7:55am